Thursday, August 27, 2015

Paldo Korean Noodle U-Dong Flavor

Made By:  Paldo Co. Ltd. [Korea]
Preparation:  Stovetop & Range
545 calories (2284kJ) per package

Sold online at AsianFoodGrocer

Our next selection from the latest Ramen Box is this Korean take on a Japanese Udon soup.  I have to admit, I have mixed feelings about trying this one:  I love the traditional Japanese mentsuyu flavor as in Nong Shim's Japanese-Style Udon, Maruchan's Akai Kitsune Udon/Midori no Tanuki Tensoba, and others.  However, I've complained quite recently about the apparent Korean penchant for dousing things in chilies until they drown the other flavors.  The Ramen Box pamphlet does say this one is "Mild," though, so I will be cautiously optimistic--even though that cartoon chef is back, and even brought a strange little sidekick with him this time.

Inside the package, we find a packet of powdered Soup Base, a packet of "Frying Soup Base" which appears to be our dried veggie mix along with some little rice crackers, and a block of thick round noodles.  Preparation is standard for Korean noodles:  We bring 550cc of water to a boil, add the contents of the packets to the water, and then simmer the noodles in the broth for 4 minutes.  Just that easy, it is ready to serve!  I do notice the relative lack of angry red color in the broth, which helps me maintain my optimism.

And my optimism is rewarded; these are pretty good!  The broth does have (as advertised) a mild chili heat, but it doesn't overpower the broth, which has a nice light soy-mirin-seafood flavor.  It does seem like a lighter-flavored version of the mentsuyu, more along the lines of the Okinawa Soba we just had than some of the others mentioned above.  While the noodles can't really compare to fresh-packed udon, they do stay nicely firm and have a good flavor.  Even toward the end of the bowl, although the chili heat did build a little, it was at a nice level compared to the rest of the flavors in the bowl.
I would definitely have this one again! :D

(I still don't trust that little chef mascot, though.  In the immortal words of a former US president: "Fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again.")

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Myojo Okinawa Soba

Made By:  Myojo Foods Co. Ltd.  [Japan]
Preparation:  Saucepan & Range
400 calories per package

Available online via Amazon

Today for lunch, my wife and I are having our first noodle from the July Ramen Box!  Naturally, I gravitate straight toward the Japanese ones first, and pull out the Okinawa Soba.  I'm looking forward to them!

The package has fairly simple contents:  We have the block of wide-cut  pale noodles, a packet of a soup base, and a much smaller packet of chili powder.  We are supposed to boil 500cc of water (about 2 cups), add the noodles and cook for 3 minutes, then stir in the soup base and transfer to our bowls.  Unlike most other noodles that include a chili powder component, this one is meant to be used as garnish; it is not pure chili powder but is a version of Japanese shichimi togarashi [seven-flavor chili powder] which is milder and includes things like orange zest, sesame seeds, and seaweed flakes.  So, we dust the top of our noodles with our pepper garnish for color, and we are ready to serve!

I have to say, I really like this one!  The flavor definitely reminds me of the Japanese 'mentsuyu' flavor as in the Midori no Tanuki Tensoba or Japanese-Style Udon noodles, although it seems a bit lighter and cleaner in flavor.  I think the broth might be more anchovy based and a little less of the seaweed-and-smoked-fish 'usual' dashi flavor, and based on the color, there is definitely less of the soy sauce element.

Despite the name, the noodles are not really soba noodles, but are actually closer to an udon noodle; they are a bit slippery, soft yet not soggy, and have a light and clean flavor that pairs with the broth well.  The fact that they are based on udon and not soba may or may not be surprising, depending on whether or not you knew that "real" Okinawa Soba was made with udon-like noodles, or whether you had to find this out on Wikipedia afterwards.

While I think I still prefer the deeper flavor and the 'true' soba noodles from a Tensoba, this one is quite nice and I would definitely enjoy having more of these!  The "serving suggestion" picture on the front shows additions of braised pork belly, green onion, pickled ginger, and something that looks like mushroom but might be fishcake slices; that seems like it could be fun excuse to buy more of these.  :D

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Ottogi Sesame Flavor Ramen

Made By:  Ottogi Ramyun Co. Ltd. [Korea]
Preparation:  Saucepan & Range
490 calories per package

Available online via Amazon

For dinner tonight, we had the last selection of the instant noodles from the June Ramen Box!  My sweetie recently told me (while we were having the Sapporo Ichiban Shio Ramen that included the sesame seed topping) that she enjoys the flavor of sesame, so I am hoping this will be a hit with the entire Ramen Butterfly household.  The back of the package promises that the included Egg Block will also deliver "the rich flavor of roasted sesame," so that sounds promising.

The noodle block is a brighter yellow color than usual, and there are three included seasoning packets:  There is the dry soup base packet, the aforementioned "Egg Block", and a small packet of bright orange sesame oil.  We bring 500cc of water to a boil, then we add the soup base, egg block, and noodles and cook for four minutes.  After transferring to a bowl, we add the small amount of sesame oil and stir.  We also notice that the square Egg Block seems to have completely disappeared, so apparently instead of being a Block, it was supposed to disperse and become part of the broth.  In any case, the noodles are ready to serve!

I have to say, I am starting to get bored with the oppressive spice level of most Korean ramyuns.  It's not that I can't handle spicy food, either; I mean 'oppressive' in the sense that all the other flavors which are supposed to be present get oppressed by the large amount of chili heat.

This ramen is unfortunately a prime example:  The package doesn't even mention anything about being spicy, and it promises "rich flavor of roasted sesame."  The Ramen Box pamphlet does mention the "spicy level" is Medium, but also reassures us that this "offers a balanced taste of nuttiness and spiciness" and that the "addition of the egg block adds a savory taste to the broth."  What do we have instead?  Yet another slight variation of Shin Ramyun.  It's a shame, because the tiny hints of the subflavors that I can pick up seem like they could have been interesting, if they weren't too busy being oppressed.
My wife was even less impressed by the level of oppression, and added some American cheese to tone down the heat.  Unfortunately this didn't do anything to liberate the alleged sesame and egg undertones, and instead just turned it into some mediocre nacho cheese soup.

For the record, the noodles have a firm and slightly slippery texture, and remind me of the 'udon' style noodles from Neoguri et al.  However, I'm just adding that to the list of ways this could have been interesting but chose not to be.  I don't imagine I'll be buying this one. :\

Monday, July 27, 2015

Unboxing The Ramen Box: July 2015

The third Ramen Box has arrived!  This one has some pretty cool stuff in it:

Our bonus item of the month is a pair of "Stache Sticks", which is one of those silicone 'training-wheels-for-chopsticks' things, shaped like a moustache so children of all ages can use it as a clever disguise between bites.  I might have preferred something a little girlier, but we will probably use it. We also get our button-of-the-month (this one is stripey), which I'll put on last month's tote bag with the other two, and the informational pamphlet.

We have an interesting selection of noodles this month!  There is an Okinawa Soba noodle soup from Myojo, what seems to be a Korean take on Japanese udon noodle soup from Paldo, as well as some Bibim Men, also from Paldo, which are spicy noodles meant to be served cold.  Finally, for the 'fun' entry, there are packets of Just Nu:dles from Nong Shim, which are noodles with no seasoning packets, intended to be used for purposes such as making sandwiches or pizza crusts, or crushing up onto salads.

This month seems like another good value!  I'm excited to try all the products (even if I'm a little intimidated by the Bibimmen), so reviews should be forthcoming soon.  So far, The Ramen Box seems very recommendable!  :D

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Sapporo Ichiban Shio Ramen

Made By:  Sanyo Foods of America [USA]
Preparation:  Saucepan & Range
480 calories per package

Available online via Amazon

This morning, we decided it was high time we had some ramen noodles again!  This is the second product from the June Ramen Box, and even though I expressed a little bit of disappointment that a "domestic" noodle would make its way into the Box, it does seem like it could be a 'breakfast noodle' kind of thing.  We'll give it a chance.

Inside the package is a block of fairly standard looking instant ramen, a 'soup base' packet, and also an included packet of sesame seeds for garnish.  Preparation is standard for 'domestic' packet noodles; we boil 2 cups (or 500cc) of water, boil the noodles for 3 minutes, then transfer to a bowl and stir in the Soup Base.  Finally, we sprinkle the sesame seed garnish on top, and our noodles are ready to serve!

The noodles have a bit firmer texture than I might have been expecting from an "American" ramen, and the broth flavor is also a pleasant surprise.  It tastes very similar to the normal domestic 'chicken' flavor ramen broth, but seems lighter and cleaner-tasting somehow.  It actually reminds me of the broth from the Paldo Kokomen we got in the previous Box, except without the jalapeño flavor and heat.  The light sesame flavor from the seeds was a nice touch; I think with a light clean flavor like this, adding sesame oil would be too much, but the seeds work, giving the flavor a little more dimension without any extra 'heaviness.'

I have to say, I am very pleasantly surprised!  I do accept that something doesn't have to be "Americanized" just because it's made in the USA (like many of Nong Shim's noodle products that are manufactured here but are otherwise like the Korean counterparts), and it seems that Sapporo Ichiban is following that standard, at least for this product.  Especially considering that this product should be readily available for a reasonable price, I could see us getting this again.  I'd definitely choose it over the Top Ramen and Maruchan chicken flavors, since both the noodles and the broth flavor are a big step up.  Sorry for doubting you, Ramen Box! :)

Sunday, July 5, 2015

JML Instant Noodle Artificial Stew Beef Flavor

Made By:  Jinmailang Nissin Food Co, Ltd. [China]
Required to Prepare:  Saucepan & Range
523 calories per package

Available online via Amazon

Today we are trying the first of the products from the June 2015 Ramen Box, and we decided to start with our first Chinese noodle,* this Beef Stew flavored noodle from JML (or Jin Mai Lang).  We're also kind of testing the theory that warm beverages and/or soups can actually make you feel cooler in hot weather, since we are having record-breaking heat here in the Pacific Northwest.  (If it works, I am going to have lots of tea and ramen this summer--they aren't predicting any break in the hot and dry weather any time soon.)

The package contains a block of noodles which look maybe a little narrower and lighter in color than average, along with not two, but three packets of seasonings; there is a powder soup base, a packet of dried veggies, and the third one is a seasoning oil, in solid/paste form.  We add the contents of all three packets to 500ml of water as it is coming to a boil, then we cook our noodles in the boiling broth for 3 minutes.  The aroma is quite nice; we are definitely smelling the beef base, but also a 'Chinese' spice--I am thinking some form of the five-spice mix and some ginger.  Anyway, we transfer the completed soup to our ramen bowls, and we are ready to eat!

The broth does have a rather nice flavor!  I am not sure I would completely agree with the Ramen Box brochure that this is 'not spicy', as it does have a little heat to it, but then again it is probably milder than the "Mild" Korean ramyuns that we sampled last month.  Rather, the chili flavor is part of a larger seasoning blend, which I doubt I can describe other than to say it's a pretty good instant version of Chinese beef stew like I might get from a Chinese restaurant.  The noodles are a little thinner and a bit softer than in a typical ramen, but it seems to fit here; it's not that they are 'soggy', just that they are a different type of noodle.

My wife even commented on the cabbage from the dried veggie packet; we were impressed that they seemed to actually retain some cabbage flavor, unlike what we are used to from other products' "Premium Ingredients." We were wondering to ourselves if this product might use actual dried Bok Choy cabbage instead of normal Western cabbage.  There's no way for me to know if that's true or not, but we do know we both really enjoyed this!  Next time I am off shopping for some instant noodles, I might keep an eye out for other JML products to see if they are all as enjoyable as this one. :D

*Technically, I have reviewed a couple of other products that were manufactured in China, but they were domestic brand names and made for the United States market, so to me those don't count for the 'China' category.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Nissin Chow Mein Premium Teriyaki Chicken Flavor

Made By:  Nissin USA
Required to Prepare:  Microwave
500 calories per package

Available online via Amazon

I'm enjoying the fact that recently my wife has had a bigger interest in sharing my ramen and instant noodles with me.  However, that means that I've had to re-think the Ramen Stash, because I had been getting just one of everything, and now I'm wanting to have two of each.  (It's also why I'm appreciating that The Ramen Box sends two each of everything.)
I bought a pair of a few different things when I was at the local Safeway, just to have some more things we could have together, and this was one of them!

This is probably actually a re-review of something I reviewed a few years back, but I've noticed that Nissin has changed the packaging so it looks like the name is now "Chow Mein Premium".  So, I'd like to see if anything besides the package has changed.  The contents had not; we still have straight-cut instant noodles, a liquid sauce, and a package of dried "Premium Ingredients."  {Note:  A second round of these, purchased a couple of weeks later, had the dried veggies loose in the package instead of in a packet, which seems to be the new format.}  Cooking directions are also still the same:  We add the dried vegetables, fill with water to the line, microwave for five minutes (I did nine minutes for two), and then stir in the sauce.

Comparing this to the description in my old review, I think this is the same product as before, just with an updated package appearance.  I will say I think I forgot how deep and enjoyable the flavor was; I was expecting something more sweet and less balanced than what the sauce actually tasted like. They earned a glowing review last time, and now four years later, I don't see why I would change that; in fact, I've managed to be pleasantly surprised by them a second time.  Especially considering the low price and easy availability of these since they are a domestic product, I would easily see myself keeping some of these around. :D

Soup it Up:  This one was probably mostly a no-brainer; we had some leftover restaurant teriyaki (mostly chicken, but some pork as well), so we added a decent portion of teriyaki meat to go with the noodles, along with some fresh green onion and some kizami shoga [pickled ginger] for some bright contrast.  It was delicious, and I could imagine us doing this (or a slight variation) every time we have teriyaki leftovers. :D

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Unboxing the Ramen Box: June 2015

The next Ramen Box has arrived!

This one included two each of three more types of instant noodles, plus two packages of another 'noodle snack' product.  I wonder if that is going to be the standard assortment for them?  We also received a "The Ramen Box" tote bag, which is kind of neat, and a matching Ramen Box button, along with the obligatory information pamphlet.

Unlike last month, which seemed to have a Korea theme going on, I'm not sure there is a connecting thread to these products; this month, the included products are:

Ottogi Sesame Ramen [Korea]
Sapporo Ichiban Shio Ramen [USA]
JML Stew Beef Flavor Instant Noodle [China]
GGE Wheat Crackers Original Flavor [Taiwan]

(The above list will be updated with links as reviews become available.)

I do have to say, I am a little bit disappointed at the inclusion of the Sapporo Ichiban, which the pamphlet claims is of Japanese origin, but which states clearly on the package that it is a domestic product and which is readily available in most grocery stores around here.*  Then again, it's not like I've actually reviewed it yet, so once again The Ramen Box has provided four new-to-me products for the Ramen Butterfly to review.  I'm looking forward to going through them!

{*:  I'm also considering the possibility that I am just spoiled by being a Seattleite, and that it isn't quite as readily available elsewhere.}

Monday, June 22, 2015

Menraku Japanese Curry "Udon"

Made By:  Hikari Miso Co. Ltd. [Japan]
Required to Prepare:  Hot Water
340 calories per package

Available online via AsianFoodGrocer

One of the perks of my job is that I don't get a lunch hour.

No, really, it's kind of a perk, because in trade for having to be present and on-call through lunch, the company buys all my work lunches (along with providing lunch for the examining doctors). Occasionally, though, there is a day where none of the doctors want to order lunch--and rather than make a delivery order just for myself, I try to keep a (company-purchased) stash of bowl noodles and yakisoba-style 'tray' noodles in the cabinet for such occasions.

Anyway, I recently had the opportunity to try Menraku's Japanese Curry "Udon" for lunch at work.  The bowl has the standard two packets (soup base and dried veggies) and some wide, thick instant style noodles.  To prepare, we empty the packets into the bowl, fill up to the fill line with boiling water, and stand for five minutes.  Then after a quick stir, the noodles are ready to eat!

I am glad that Menraku put the word "Udon" in quotation marks on the package, as if they know they're using the term loosely, because these noodles are almost completely unlike any 'real' udon I've experienced.  It's almost as if they're overcooked and undercooked at the same time; they seem a bit soggy, but are also sticky and gummy.  I know it's not fair to compare them to 'fresh' vacuum-packed udon, but Samyang has already proven to me that it's possible to do a dry udon that is reminiscent of the fresh ones.
The noodles did seem to get more pleasant the longer they sat in the broth, but I think that was just that they were transforming from sticky+soggy to just plain soggy.

The broth doesn't save this one either; it has a hint of the proper Japanese curry flavor, but it seems very bland and watered down compared to other curry noodles I've tried--Ottogi's Bekse Curry Myon was way better, and even the 'cheap' Nissin Demae ones were more satisfying.  There isn't even any fun inclusions in the vegetable packet like the potato bits in the Ottogi one.
Unpleasant noodles and mediocre broth adds up to a bowl I won't be buying again, and I'll probably avoid any more of Menraku's quote-unquote "udon" as well.  :\

Monday, June 8, 2015

Ottogi Ppushu Ppushu Noodle Snack (BBQ Flavor)

Made by:  Ottogi Ramyon Co. Ltd. [Korea]
Required to Prepare:  Large Wooden Mallet  Nothing!
205 calories per 1/2 package

Available online via Amazon (as part of variety pack)

The final product that I received in the May 2015 Ramen Box is this "Noodle Snack" from Ottogi.  Despite being--by all appearances--a package of ramen, complete with separate seasoning packet, the caped mallet boy on the package urges, "Don't boil it, Crunch it!"

Before researching this entry, I was a litle apprehensive about the idea of eating raw noodles, honestly; my mind was conjuring up an image not unlike trying to chew up raw spaghetti.  But apparently, this is a thing that people like college students have been doing for years, and Ottogi has merely legitimized the practice by making it an official product line.  (I'm guessing I dropped out of college too early to have learned of this practice in school like everyone else.)

Anyway, all we do is crush up the noodles into bite-size pieces (or smaller--I got a bit carried away I think), then open and pour in the seasoning pack and shake it up to spread the seasonings onto the crunchy noodles, then we eat them.
{Or rather, I eat them, because my sweetie immediately found the flavor revolting.}

The noodles were actually a pleasant surprise!  Far from 'uncooked pasta' texture, they are much more like those crunchy "Chow Mein Noodles" that come in a can. (Stay in school, kids!)  I rather liked the flavor; it seems like an Asian variation of the sweet barbecue flavor that most "BBQ Flavor" potato chips use; along with an overtone of sweet soy sauce, there are garlic/onion and smoked-meat notes.
In a reversal from many ramen products that list their nutrition as two servings even though they are clearly for one, this one is listed for the entire package, which turns out to be more than I would want in one sitting--I ended up saving half the package for later, so I am calling it two 205-calorie servings.

On first taste, they seemed like a novelty item that I might not buy again, but after half the package, I have to say they were starting to seem rather craveable, so depending on price, I could maybe see buying some just to have a fun snack to take to work, and I could see myself trying out the other flavors as well. :)

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Paldo Cheese Ramyun

Made By:  Paldo Co. Ltd. [Korea]
Required to Prepare:  Saucepan & Range
480 calories per package

Available online via

Continuing the trek through the May 2015 Ramen Box, we have this Cheese Ramyun from Paldo.  The idea of cheese ramen sounds a bit odd at first, but I don't know why it would be that much different than some other kind of cheese soup (like that awesome broccoli and cheese soup from Panera Bread).  Also, we had a good experience from the domestic Cheddar Cheese Chow Noodles, so I don't know why a 'soup' version of cheese ramen woudn't work just as well.

The contents of the package are very typical of any other Korean Ramyun, with the addition of a third packet containing "Cheese Powder."  Preparation is also very typical; we boil 550ml of water, add the dry veggies and soup base, and cook for four minutes.  The soup base itself has a reddish color not unlike the other 'hot-spicy' flavor Korean products; for the sake of science, I decide to taste the broth before adding the Cheese Powder, and it is definitely a milder version of Shin Ramyun et al--very similar to the Jin Ramen Mild that also came in this month's box.  The cheese powder seems to be the same stuff that comes in a box of macaroni and cheese, and is a bit clumpy at first, but eventually I get it stirred in, at which point the noodles are ready to serve!

The cheese is not actually the primary flavor of the broth, but (especially judging from the before/after tasting) it does change the complexion of the flavor quite a bit; there is a creaminess and tanginess that is added, which both counters a bit of the spiciness and seems to allow different sub-flavors to come out.  I should at least mention the noodles and vegetables, even though they are pretty much the same as in all the other Korean ramen products I've been having; the noodles are firm and flavorful, and the veggies are the usual green onion/carrot/cabbage blend.

I liked this one quite a bit as well!  I'm enjoying the more balanced flavors that I've been experiencing with the products that came in this Ramen Box; this one has the creaminess that I enjoy when I add an egg to a Korean 'hot' ramyun, but as a different variation with the extra tanginess that comes from the cheese--it's actually somewhere in between the egg and my sweetie's idea of adding sour cream to Shin Ramyun.  My opinion of Korean ramen has gone up after trying these products; I don't think I had realized there was this much variety.  I could see myself getting this one again as well! :)

Soup it Up:  The Ramen Box pamphlet suggests toppings of chopped green onions, egg, and additional cheese in the form of a slice of American.  We tried the extra cheese and green onions, along with some leftover roast ham. The extra cheese was a definite upgrade for me, taking it from a sort-of-creamy Korean-spice-flavored noodle to a sort-of-spicy cheese-flavored noodle, closer to my original expectations.  The extra green onion played nicely with the onion/garlic in the soup base, and the ham fit in perfectly because of course it did.  Ham and Cheese is a classic for a reason, right?

My sweetie did mention that she thought a soft egg could have gone well also--further experiments will clearly be necessary. ^_^

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Paldo Kokomen (Spicy Chicken Flavor)

Made By:  PalDo Co. Ltd. [Korea]
Required to Prepare:  Saucepan & Range
510 calories per package

Available online via

Next up from the May 2015 Ramen Box is Paldo's Kokomen spicy chicken soup!  The package describes it as "Clean Spicy," and according to the Ramen Box pamphlet, this should be a Korean 'Ramyun' version of a classic chicken noodle soup.  I'm anxious to give it a try!

The package doesn't have any big surprises inside; there is a very typical block of round-style Korean ramen noodles, and the standard two packets of add-ins (one powder, one veggie flake).  Interestingly, though, the ingredients list for the vegetable packet includes chicken breast and egg flake; I don't see much visual evidence of the chicken breast although I do see some tiny yellow rectangles that are probably the eggs I was looking for.  I also can't help noticing the little caricature chef near the instructions; after a cursory search, I'm assuming this is a likeness of the Korean comedian Kyung-Kyu Lee, who (according to an Amazon reviewer) developed these noodles as part of a ramen competition show.  Anyway, normal preparation instructions for a Korean noodle:  Boil 500ml of water, add everything, and cook for 4 minutes, at which point we have...

...this bowl of appetizing-looking noodles!  The broth is somewhat clear, and I can easily see the green onion pieces as well as both green and red pepper rings.  There are also a couple of little square shavings that may or may not be the mentioned chicken breast, and some longer rectangles that are probably the egg--neither one seem to contribute anything, visually, texturally, or otherwise.
The broth has a really nice flavor; the "Clean Spicy" descriptor from the package is actually a really good description.  It is a very clean, almost western-style chicken broth, accented by a very fresh-tasting pepper flavor--more than just the heat, you can taste the green accents, it reminds me of the flavor of fresh jalapeño.  While the heat level is assertive, it is definitely not overpowering, and interestingly, the heat doesn't seem to 'build' as I eat more of it.  The noodles are typical and average for Korean noodles, which is to say there is definitely nothing wrong with them; they are pleasantly firm and pick up the flavor of the soup well.

I have to say, this may be my new favorite Korean-style noodle of all time (sorry, 'Black'); I enjoy how the heat in these are a fresher, brighter flavor than simply adding a big scoop of chili powder, and how it manages to complement rather than overpower the lighter, more delicate flavors in the soup.  I could be wrong, but I am even thinking these could be a great "under-the-weather" choice--it has all the 'comfort food' quality of old-fashioned chicken soup, along with some crisp, clean pepper heat to help open up the sinuses.

Not that I would wait until I was sick to have this again; I will definitely be buying more of these.  :D

Monday, June 1, 2015

Ottogi Jin Ramen (Mild)

Made By:  Ottogi Ramyon Co. Ltd. [Korea]
Required to Prepare:  Saucepan & Range
500 calories per package

Available online through

Tonight I am reviewing the first of the noodles from my May Ramen Box; I decided to start with the mild one of the three, Ottogi's Mild Jin Ramen.  I noticed while looking up the Amazon link that there is also a hot version of this, so Jin Ramen is probably their trademark for the traditional-flavor Korean ramyun, like Shin Ramyun for Nong Shim.

Inside the package is the typical two packets of powder soup base and dry veggies, and a block of noodles which are the slightly thicker and rounder variety; they remind me a bit of the "udon style" noodles from Neoguri or like Samyang's dried udon.  We are actually supposed to put the vegetable flakes in the water at the beginning, before we bring it to a boil, which seems like a good idea to give them more time to rehydrate.  The vegetable packet has a more interesting mix than in a lot of other noodles; in addition to the typical green onion and cabbage, there are carrots, some wakame seaweed, dried mushrooms, and even some 'beeflike' TVP bits.  Once the 550ml of water comes to a boil, we add the soup base and noodles and cook for four minutes, then transfer to a bowl and serve!

This might be mild for a Korean Ramyun, but be warned--it is still pretty spicy compared to even the "spicy" varieties of American ramen.  That said, I think it is basically the same flavor profile as in Shin Ramyun and similar "hot-spicy" flavored ramyuns.  Since the spice level is toned down from those a little, though, I find that I taste the other layers of the flavor better in this soup; I am picking up the beef-onion base over the chili heat, which is nice.  The extra veggies like the seaweed and mushroom bits are nice as well.  The noodles have a very pleasing firm texture and a nice light flavor to them, which pairs well with the broth.

I definitely think I prefer the lighter spice in this one over the regular Shin Ramyun, I think the flavor is better balanced overall.  I'm not as sure I would place it above Shin Ramyun Black, but that might not be a fair comparison as Black is a 'premium' product that would cost more.  I'll certainly enjoy having the other package that came in the box, at least, and I could see myself buying more--as Korean ramyuns go, I rather liked this one. :)

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A Treasure Chest has Arrived!

I'm not sure I remember exactly how I became aware of this new "subscription box," but once I did, I knew I had to give The Ramen Box a try.  They are brand new, so I didn't have the benefit of seeing what prior boxes had in them to get an idea of the selection--I am in on the very first month!  So far all I know about the contents is that there is going to be two each of 3-4 types of instant noodles, and also that they asked me my t-shirt size a week ago.
So, in grand internet tradition, we are now going to do our first of at least six Unboxing Special entries.

Inside the box, there is the promised t-shirt and also a small 'The Ramen Box' button as this month's "extras," two package each of four types of noodles, and a tri-fold style informational leaflet which tells about this month's selections.  It seems May 2015 is Korean themed; we have the mild Ottogi Jin Ramen, the medium Paldo Cheese Ramyun, and the spicy Paldo Kokomen.  Finally, for something really different, they've included Ottogi's Ppushu Ppushu 'noodle snack' in BBQ Flavor, which is meant to be smashed up and eaten dry instead of being cooked.

The first box was mostly a hit for me; I've only had one of the four varieties included before, and I haven't reviewed any of them previously, a situation I will be rectifying over the next couple of weeks as time permits.  The t-shirt is just a little snug, but I was expecting that, and if I lose just a little more weight (maybe by eating more ramen and less pizza) then it will be perfect.  Overall, I feel like I got a good value and a fun experience; I'm looking forward to eating my way through this box, and I'm looking forward to the next one as well! ^_^

Update:  The products have now been reviewed:
Ottogi Jin Ramen Mild
Paldo Kokomen
Paldo Cheese Ramyun
Ottogi Ppushu Ppushu BBQ Flavor
All four got a positive rating; I know it's just the first month, but it makes me hopeful for the high quality of things to come!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Soup it up!

Inspired by the last review, in addition to trying to post new reviews on a semi-regular basis, I'm planning to update some of the older reviews as we have some of our old favorites again with our add-in ingredients--I'm thinking this makes more sense than my old idea of creating separate "Souped Up" re-reviews to talk about the add-ins.

The first old review to get updated is based on what my wife and I had for dinner tonight:  Shin Ramyun

Myojo Chukazanmai Soy Sauce Flavor

Made By:  Myojo Foods Co. [Japan]
Required to Prepare:  Water, Saucepan & Range
370 calories per package

Available online at

I know this blog has been woefully neglected of late, but I am still around... and more importantly to the story, my wife and I have been on a bit of a ramen kick recently.  We started by having some of my (already reviewed) favorites together, but it is time to start reviewing again!  I'm re-starting things with a very traditional product from Myojo, their Chukazanmai soy sauce (shoyu) ramen.

The package contains two soup base packets, one powdered and one liquid, and a very interesting block of dried noodles--they are not 'puffed' the way almost all instant ramen is at all; they quite hard and dense, and are much more like a dry pasta, like wavy spaghetti.  The liquid seasoning packet has concentrated soy sauce and sesame-flavored oil, and the powdered base seems to be, for want of a better description, a typical "oriental flavor" soup base.
We boil 600ml (about 2-1/2 cups) of water, then add the noodles and cook for 4 minutes.  The soup bases get mixed in at the end, either before or after we transfer the soup to our bowl, and with a quick stir we are ready to have some ramen!

[Note:  the delicious oils on top of the soup caught the
camera flash in an odd way, it didn't look this weird in person.
This does show how much rich flavoring you get though!]
Well, almost ready.  It feels a bit like there is something missing, and there is--I've skipped a step in the instructions.  See, this is actually a very respectable rendition of 'real' shoyu ramen soup; the non-puffed noodles are firmer and more like fresh, and the broth has that rich sesame and soy sauce flavor.  However, a 'real' shoyu ramen would never get caught being served naked like this, which is why the last step in the instructions is:  "3.  Try adding meat, or vegetable as desired."  To start, I think the 'serving suggestion' from the front of the package, which depicts some braised pork belly along with radishes, greens, and peppers, would be delicious, but really I think it would be a fine way to use whatever meaty leftovers you had around.  Extra rotisserie chicken, roast beef, kamaboko and 6-minute eggs all sound like good things to build a bowl of ramen around.

I actually could see eating it on its own for something simple and comforting if I were under the weather, but I can definitely see that it is meant as a base for a meal soup of your own design, and I think I may try to keep a couple of packs around for just that purpose. :)